Front Row With Francis: The Journey to Heaven


Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the GospelSomething heard very often among people is that they will deal with their faith when they are older, when it is time to start a family or when they have more time. Church can wait, prayer can wait, and practicing virtues (especially charity!) can wait. When reading the audience of Pope Francis the Wednesday before Thanksgiving this came to mind when he talked about the joy of finally seeing God face to face.

The concept of waiting to live out our faith until proper time is a little silly, considering why we were made in the first place. It is even sillier when we think about all that the church has given us to help us on this journey.  The Church, from the very beginning, has been helping people on their journey to Heaven, and it will continue to until the end of time.  The church gives the most beautiful gifts to help on this journey; the mass including the Eucharist, liturgy of the hours, adoration, the sacraments, the saints and the Blessed Mother. It arms us with so many different things to battle through this life and to see our most fought after prize; the face of God.

Thinking about it in this way makes me wonder: why wait? Why wait to love and live for God? Why wait when right at this very moment there is a Mass taking place, where Jesus Christ is coming down in the great sacrifice of the altar to live within us. Why wait? This journey here on earth will inevitably come to an end, and with that end all of our material possessions will fade away; but our soul will live forever. And if it is our soul that will live forever, is it not fitting to spend this time on earth preparing for that eternity in which our soul so longingly awaits?

When we think about this journey, it is always appropriate to think about all those who have gone before us, fought the good fight and have won. Earlier this month we celebrated two very important and significant feasts. November 1st is the feast of all Saints and the day after, November 2nd is the feast of All Souls. These two feasts are very important for us to remember all those that are in Heaven, who are rewarded with the Beatific Vision. We also remember those who are still suffering in Purgatory waiting to see the Beatific Vision, and it is they who need our help. Pope Francis said it best, “Those who already live in the presence of God can assist and intercede for us, they can pray for us. On the other hand, we are also, always sent to offer good works, prayers and the Eucharist itself to alleviate the tribulation of souls that are still awaiting blessedness without end.”

Those who are in Heaven will be of assistance to us here below, but those who are in Purgatory are in need of our assistance to help them get to their final destination. These two things can be a great meditation to us knowing full well it is possible to get to Heaven, because there are already people there praying for us daily hoping we will one day join them.  The souls in Purgatory can be a reminder to us that we must pray for them, but we also must live out our faith in our own lives so we can get to Heaven.

There is no time to wait. We must spend our life doing good and living for God. We must go on this journey with the Church, until the end of times when the Church will indeed be victorious.

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know which day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42


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